05.15 Approved Minutes

City andCounty of San Francisco

DEpartment of the ENvironment

URBAN FORESTRY COUNCIL PLANNING & FUNDING COMMITTEE
REGULAR MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

 

Thursday, May 15, 2008, 4:15 p.m.

City Hall, Room 421, One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102

 

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Carla Short (Chair), David Habert, Milton Marks, Lena Miller, Terry Milne, Kelly Quirke, Bonnie Ora Sherk

 

Order of Business


  1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Planning and Funding Committee meeting convened at 4:19 p.m.  Present:  Chair Short, Members Milne, Quirke and Sherk; Excused:  Members Habert, Marks and Miller.

 

  1. Approval of Minutes of the March 20, 2008 Urban Forestry Council Planning and Funding Committee Regular Meeting (Discussion and Action).  Upon Motion by Chair Short and second by Member Quirke, the March 20, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (Absent:  Members Habert, Marks and Miller) (Explanatory document: Approved Minutes of the March 20, 2008 Meeting).

 

  1. Resolution to Support Framing Islais Creek Watershed in Conjunction with all City Agencies involved with transforming streets, streetscapes, and other open spaces in and around the Islais Creek Watershed.  Recommendation to the Full Council to approve the Resolution (Discussion and Action) (Explanatory Document:  Draft Resolution File 2008-04-UFC) (Continued from the March 20, 2008 Meeting).

                                                                      SPONSOR/SPEAKER:  Member Sherk

 

Member Sherk presented a map of the Islais Creek watershed http://www.alivinglibrary.org/IslaisCreekwatershed.htm and a narrative describing the development project http://www.alivinglibrary.org/IslaisCreeknarrative.htm.   It was stated that the Living Library creates opportunities working with diverse communities looking at the resources in each community, human, ecological, economic, historic, technological, and aesthetic and from understanding that local place from the past, present, and future, a rich plan is created that is relevant to the local place.

 

Member Sherk explained that what the Resolution proposes is not to get into the details of any specific plan, but to acknowledge the opportunity to bring more trees and other elements into the public realm.  It was explained that endorsing the Resolution would be an opportunity for the Council to weigh in on these efforts surrounding trees and the urban canopy.  Member Sherk reported that the State Department of Forestry has provided the Living Library with funding for Phase 1, and the Mayor’s Office, City agencies (San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Recreation and Park, Department of Public Works, and other organizations (Friends of the Urban Forest) are working together to put the project together. Member Sherk stated that the projects support the Mayor’s Office of Greening’s efforts to green the City.

 

Chair Short stated that she is unsure whether the Council should (1) name and endorse non-profit organizations in a Resolution in terms of not showing favoritism to one organization over another, and asked whether the Council would want to start endorsing specific projects, and (2) put too much of an emphasis on native trees as non-natives may make more sense for certain areas in San Francisco.  Member Sherk responded that the Deputy City Attorney found that because the Urban Forestry Council is an advisory body, it is legal to endorse a project by a specific organization. Member Sherk also responded that if you are trying to create a visual, conceptual and ecological statement, it is appropriate in this situation to plant native trees. 

 

Member Milne reported that the question of the Council endorsing a specific organization has never been raised before, so there is no historic information to refer to. Member Quirke stated that if specific organizations are named in a Resolution, there may be preferential treatment by decision makers based on their favoritism to one organization over the other, and the decision may not be based on the merits of the project.  Member Sherk stated that endorsing the Resolution would not be about going to decision makers, it is for the Council to become more involved in working with different agencies, advocating, and presenting opportunities for creating more education around trees, the watershed, and native trees in this case.  Member Sherk stated that the Resolution supports the Council’s mission to be more visible and relevant and to be engaged in a relevant project. 

 

Member Short recommended that the Resolution be rewritten to take out the section on page 1 (Title), lines 7 and 8, “A Living Library Nature Walk Plan to frame the Islais Creek watershed…” Member Milne suggested taking references to the Living Library out of the title and leaving it in throughout the Resolution.

 

Public Comment

 

Mr. Bill Carlin disagreed with the proposition that the Islais Creek runs through the Portola district advising that he lives in the Portola district. It was explained that there is a creek, which rises in Yosemite Marsh and McLaren Park and flows down into South Bay, but it is not part of Islais Creek.  Mr. Carlin stated that these are all wonderful ideas as proposed in the narrative, but there are no specifics outlined in the project.  Mr. Carlin requested that the Council not endorse a plan that has wonderful points, but is vague, with no implementation methods attached to it.  Mr. Carlin agreed that references to a specific organization be entirely deleted from the Resolution.  Member Sherk responded to clarify by saying” that indeed the northernmost area of the Portola is part of the Islais Creek Watershed; the area just south of 280.  In fact, the Creek system comes up behind the SF Community School located on Gavin. The area Mr. Carlin was mentioning is Yosemite Slough which is in Visitacion Valley and relates to the southern Portola neighborhood  
 that is adjacent to Visitacion Valley.  It is a different Watershed from the Islais Creek Watershed.”

 

Ms. Nancy Wuerfel asked Member Sherk whom she is working with at the Mayor’s Office.  Member Sherk stated that she is working with Mr. Mike Farrah and Ms. Astrid Haryati, the Mayor’s Greening Director.  Ms. Wuerfel recommended that the Council not advocate for a project that references trademark names, as it suggests that there are intellectual property rights and permission would have to be granted by the owner or an exchange of payment would be required.  Ms. Wuerfel stated that if the Council is going to promote a concept, it has to be conceptual, and not to name a specific organization because it ties future street plantings in this area to this plan.  It was recommended that a business plan be prepared, and that this Resolution make references to a more specific plan.  Ms. Wuerfel stated that it should not be the work of one City department to influence the work of other City departments as it pertains to one trademark activity. 

 

Upon Motion by Member Milne and second by Member Quirke without objection, the Resolution would be brought back to rework at the next Policy Committee meeting on June 16 (Absent:  Members Habert, Marks and Miller).

 

  1. Urban Forestry Council budget and update on City budget proposals and cuts that may affect urban forestry funding (Continued Discussion from the March 20, 2008 Meeting).

 SPONSOR:  Chair Short

 

Chair Short reported that her understanding is that the funding for street tree planting, the “Trees for Tomorrow” project that has allowed the department to increase the number of trees that were planted by the Department of Public Works is likely to be reduced in next year’s budget. In addition, the Mayor’s Office is asking all City departments for an additional 5% reduction in their budget.  Chair Short explained that the Department of Public Works has not identified where those cuts would originate. There is also concern that there may be additional cuts, but there are no details at this point.  Chair Short explained that the establishment of watering for the trees that were planted in the past two years has already been allocated in last year’s budget for the next three years, and is not sure what form a cut would be if any.  It was explained that in the previous year, the Board of Supervisors mandated the cuts for the Council, but because it was cut last year, there is the possibility that it may be intact this year; however, no specifics have been heard at this time.

 

Council Coordinator Hui stated that one of the Departments has decided not to contribute to the Council this year, and it is unknown what will happen in the future.  It was explained that the budget has been reduced by one fifth as a result. Chair Short reported that layoffs are a possibility for many City departments and that many vacant positions are not being filled.  Chair Short stated that she does not know what the legal requirements are for funding the Council.  It was explained that City departments are responding to the Board of Supervisors about what kinds of things have to stay in the budget and what can go, but the Department of Public Works and the Bureau of Urban Forestry does not have details about what is being cut.  Member Milne suggested sending an inquiry to the Board of Supervisors as to whether the City departments are required to contribute to the Council.

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Wuerfel recommended that the Council request an add-back from the Board of Supervisors after the Mayor signs the budget in order to compensate for the additional work required to hold landmark tree hearings and to landmark trees.  It was stated that this was not a task that this body originally had to do and is a legitimate argument for increasing funding.  

 

  1. Review of Urban Forestry Council Prioritized Work Plan for 2008 for selection of one or more items to begin work on and identify action steps to achieve each goal for recommendation to the full Council. (Discussion and Action) (Explanatory Document:  Work Plan Prioritized List for 2008). 

 

Council Coordinator Hui requested clarification of prioritized work plan items as not all items are clear or specify a desired outcome. Chair Short proposed a selection of top three work plan items, and for Coordinator Hui to clarify details with the Council Chair.  Chair Short recommended prioritizing three work plan items as follows: Priority 1: number 7 of the Prioritized List (work on Council funding as an immediate goal, to work towards the possibility of the add back, research how the Council ordinance is written, what is required of City departments, and how the Council may need to approach the Board to advocate for funding of goals; Priority 2: number 2 “Research other agency initiatives on planning, construction, and capital projects and how they may relate to the urban forest in terms of timing and scope…” as it relates to the new Urban Forest Plan that is moving forward and to stay involved in the Plan; Priority 3: number 1: Urban Forest Plan Priority Action Steps as agreed to by the Planning and Policy Committee. Member Milne presented the following work plan items in the following priority order as listed: Work Plan Items 3, 2, 5, 4, 7, 10, 1, 6, 8, and 9. 

 

Committee members decided that this agenda item should be forwarded to the full Council as a discussion item in order to receive additional input.

 

The meeting adjourned at 5:39 p.m. due to a loss of quorum.

 

  1. New Business/Future Agenda Items (Discussion). This item was not heard due to a loss of quorum.

 

  1. Public Comment:  Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda. This item was not heard due to a loss of quorum.

 

  1. Adjournment.  The Planning and Funding Committee meeting adjourned at 5:39 p.m.

 

 

Urban Forestry Council

San Francisco Department of the Environment

City and County of San Francisco, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

 

Respectfully submitted by,

Monica Fish, Council Secretary

 

Approved:  June 19, 2008

 

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